The Criminalization of LGBTQ Youth: A Call to Action

Document Type


Publication Date


Conference / Event Title

Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law Symposium

Conference / Event Location

Washington, DC

Hosting Organization

American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL)


hosted by Sidley Austin LLP


Approximately 300,000 LGBTQ youth enter the juvenile justice system each year. Research indicates that these youth make up thirteen to fifteen percent of all youth in detention facilities across the country, yet they represent only five to seven percent of the youth population nationwide.

The Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law will convene legal scholars, practitioners, and students to examine the disproportionate representation of LGBTQ youth who come into contact with the justice system. The symposium will address the unique needs of court-involved LGBTQ youth by identifying and evaluating ways in which our education and criminal justice systems fail to support and contribute to disproportionate rates of LGBTQ youths’ incarceration. The symposium will also examine conditions of confinement, including specific practices that impact LGBTQ youth in secure facilities and the current state of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Finally, the symposium will explore nationwide efforts to create affirming environments for LGBTQ youth so as to support them in their communities and keep them out of the criminal justice system.

Panel 1: From Books to Cuffs (School-to-Prison Pipeline)

Panel 2: Unreasonable Suspicion? Analyzing Police Practices and the Impact of the Social Justice Movement

Panel 3: Behind the Bars: Conditions of Confinement

Panel 4: Where do we go from here? Strategies and Promising Practices to Support LGBTQ Youth

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